Dederang’s chase of just its second premiership in more than a century will take the next step at home against Mount Beauty this weekend.
“It’s probably been 10 years ago (2008-09) since we won and before that we’d never won, so it’s been one in 135 years,” opening batsman Andrew Creamer said.
As minor premiers, Dederang is the only team guaranteed to survive the first week of finals.
The two lowest-ranked losers will be bundled out, so Lavington’s (fifth) away clash to Wodonga and Mount Beauty are in the firing line.
The Power did remarkably well to make finals after losing key players from last year’s premiership outfit.
The club also lost 5-0 in the final round against Baranduda, but scraped home to end the home team’s season.
Interestingly, Dederang’s only grand final win was against Mount Beauty.
The Power posted 173, with Dederang passing the target five wicket down.
Creamer opened that match, while one of Mt Beauty’s guns remains a danger almost a decade later.
“Greg McLennan can take a game away from you very quickly,” Creamer said.
“He doesn’t run too many, he tends to clear the fence more than run.
“There’s been many a game he’s beaten us in the opening hour.
“I think (Damian) Jenvey, the wicketkeeper, is also a key bat for them, he’s pretty solid and they can bat around him quite well.”
Jenvey posted a ton in the season’s first two-dayer, against Howlong in January.
Dederang and Mt Beauty are fierce rivals, playing football together in the Tallangatta and District league.
“It’s great for the (Dederang) community, we’ve had a lot of past players text and wish us luck,” Creamer said.
“With social media, there’s more people keeping an eye on results than days gone by.”
Meanwhile, the finals have a new feel with two first-timers to district level.
Lavington entered a district first grade team this season, while Corowa moved from Wangaratta and District.
A final round outright catapulted Corowa into third spot, so it will host Yackandandah.
Corowa piled on 8-278 (declared) against Howlong, with Nathan Rhodes posting his highest score at senior level.
Mark Athanitis finished with 9-45 in the two innings, while Matthew Ross also snared five victims.
The visitors must regain their batting form quickly after Lavington ripped through them.
The Panthers made 172, but Jaydon Wright (4-22) tore through the away team.
Bailey Glass top-scored with 25.
Wodonga had the final round bye, but it produced a strong showing against Corowa prior to that.
The visitors punched out a competitive 196, with Mason Brown providing 83.
Luke Jones then ripped through Corowa, snaring 6-26 from 17.5 overs.
Wodonga will face Lavington at Albury’s Billson Park.